PUEBLO — A new effort from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will take over the COVID-19 vaccination site at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo starting on Wednesday, April 14.
According to Governor Polis' office, the intent of the transfer to the Pilot Community Vaccination Site is to address the population of Pueblo and rural southern Colorado at high risk of infection. No reason was given for the change in leadership at the site.
The current operation at the fairgrounds under the direction of Centura Health has run into a large amount of criticism in recent weeks. Community members reached out to News5 on social media, by phone and email with concerns about trying to complete the vaccination process with a second dose, claiming the community clinic has gone "downhill" since it was taken over by the Vaccines for All program, and long waits due to low staffing at the site.
In contrast, many reached out to say the Pueblo County Health Department was doing a "fantastic job" at the Pueblo Mall vaccination site. The organization ran the state fairgrounds site until March 22.
The FEMA takeover is anticipated to increase the number of vaccinations that can be administered in the drive-thru process with a stated goal of 3,000 vaccines per day, up from 1,750 vaccines right now. This includes mobile vaccination units across rural areas. Last week, the Governor's Office officially rolled out buses to serve southeastern and northeastern Colorado.
“We’ll have 4 of these buses that can really serve people across the state, especially medically under-served... So some of our rural communities, but also some of our urban communities where folks can’t get in a car and get to one of our states," said Polis when unveiling the Mobile Vaccine Clinic in Avondale, CO.
These clinics aren't only useful for anyone in the area, but also those struggling to find appointments who are able to drive and meet the mobile clinic outside of their own area. Further details on the mobile sites have not been released.
The state fairground operation will begin under FEMA leadership on Wednesday, April 14 with availability 7 days a week beginning at 7 a.m. Vaccine appointments can be made at http://www.centura.org/vaccine.
Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.